Global Network

Technology & Culture

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mechfest-2k16-where-technology-meets-humanity

In response to the stimulus ‘technology’ we are challenged to think deeper than a piece of equipment or objects that replicate the general consensus to a much broader topic. Take for instance the word ‘Techne’  that amounts to the response of limits of human capability by making or doing. When first given this understanding about the origins of the word I couldn’t help but think back to talks I had with academics when constructing a 3D printed prosthetic hand in the direction of cyborgs. This extension of human capability allows something that replicated human movement be replaced by technological advancement that had the opportunity to for expansion and perhaps go beyond the limitations that natural anatomy presents. This leads into the production of technology as a response to nature, in this case the human body. It’s features can than be drawn on by more than just the technology itself, but by the social conditions in which they are developed and used. For example, the one I created had a significantly cheaper build cost to a common plastic prosthesis simply by the use of the 3D printer. Implications of its use and the idea of body modifications can be explored through the ethical considerations of the technology itself and the current body enhancement readings available in medical records.

Another topic I want to draw on is the idea of trajectory that allows the history of development to be understood as a movement though space. A changing usage or even access to this sees social implications to a global network. A group and I took a look at the way music consumption has taken various forms thus the gramophone to vinyls through to the mp3 and later Bluetooth and streaming services. All major shifts that affect the production and distribution of music and later introduced legislation to avoid legal battles in copying or pirating. These new advancements saw new ways of usage discussed above with the merging of music and being able to play the songs you like in automobiles as one example.

Lastly, groups were formed and topics discussed in what will be a pitch to a classroom about what kind of presentation each will research. Social media and campaigns are a growing field and a broad area to think about, to which we set about thinking how can these platforms be used better. The full detail will be decided further upon discussion with academic staff.

 

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#Human

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The power of social media, and how it has rapidly turned into my source for news and updates. This could be due to the creation of the hash-tag (#) and how it has brought global discussions to the media’s attention. The hashtag allows people to easily “trend” a particular topic and allow discussion, with complete freedom.

The hashtag has also been a mode of reconciliation, reflection and participation in events which have raised public awareness, such as #sydneysiege and the following #i’llridewithyou and #putoutyourbats following the said passing of cricketer Phillip Hughes. This idea of solidarity and accompanying Muslims on their daily errands in public transport and sharing the streets at a time when anti-Muslim was going to be the likely backlash from the events, as well as Australia and the worlds humanness towards an event is empowered by social media. The hashtag allows a community to be formed within a forum such as twitter and gives a voice (and chance to be heard) by a global audience.  The assumption that in the heat of the terror, anger might be raised towards those who had no involvement with the actions of one psychopath rose to fear amongst communities.

.The YouTube video i created explores how the emotional connection between an event and a hashtag can bring together the community associated on a global scale.

Knowledge Worker: Liquid Labour

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This week I’d like to focus on rise of the “Knowledge Worker”, a term coined by Peter Drucker that is “defined as when people would generate value with their minds more than with their muscle” (HBR.org, 2015)

A rising trend of knowledge workers being hired by human resources, targeted by marketers of technology and being written about by consultants is a result of global connectivity and being able to access the flow of information from user to generator and vice-versa.

Within organisations today every worker can contribute to the flow of business information and showcase their worth in the success of the company, and do it relatively easy.Workers have a right to ask about performances as well as economic and political questions in terms of why they do what they do.

“ In a collaborative organization…all workers’ knowledge counts, regardless of their roles. Every team member contributes, shares knowledge, and participates in making decisions, whether he or she is loading crates, designing products, servicing customer accounts, creating tactical marketing plans, or determining long-term strategy. And most important, information flows in multiple directions rather than cascading from senior leadership down through multiple levels of management to front-line people.” (Bloomberg Business, 2011)

The Electric Telegraph: Analogue Coding Exercises

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International_Morse_Code

The Electric Telegraph was revolutionary in its development because it changed the way people received information. It’s a device that allows a message to be sent over long distances without sending the physical letters. It’s done through electrical wires which are then decoded after being received. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica a telegraph is “any device or system that allows the transmission of information by coded signal over distance”. Communication travel was increased in time taken to send and receive and wasn’t affected by environmental factors, where previous technologies struggled such as ships in the ocean battling rough sea conditions. The electric telegraph was prolific with journalists, bankers, merchants, stock brokers and government officials often using it to count election results. Before the telegraph the time taken to send and receive messages and news to other countries and regions could surpass weeks and even months. It has allowed a more ‘rapid communication’ whereby physical deliveries are not necessary.

Morse code was a prolific real-time/audio communication code system before the radio telegraph made it become obsolete. The first commercial telegraph was sent in 1837; however in 1838 Samuel Morse creates a long distance communication model using dot-dash codes (Oscillations in electrical current). Thus, Morse code was invented and to send a telegram you could hand deliver or telephone your message to a telegraph office. There, an operator enters the message into a computer, which then – obsolete translates it into code and sends it to its destination. And the receiving end, machines translate the encoded message back into words and print it out. The telegraph office may hand deliver or telephone the message to the person receiving it.

marco03A Man transmitting the first official messages of the commercial wireless telegraph service

This method of codification relied heavily on the audio medium of communication to decode the message being sent as Samuel Morse discovered that he couldn’t send voice messages, yet could transmit code from pulses. He created a code, which is later adapted to international Morse code, based on a dot-dash system and sound representing each letter of the alphabet. The information or language is codified and then a key makes it representational, thus the origin for communication with this model. An in-class demonstration of how audible coding can be used to create a shape or object with similar techniques. Across the room we were able to set up a key and a sound to code specific directions in order to produce a high heel shoe. This first-hand experience represents the way in which an operator would have either read or listened to the Morse code and deciphered the message according. An activity that showcased the advancement of the Fax machine, which evolved from Morse code, in transmitting one electric pulse down a phone line to represent the words and picture.

The electric telegraph expanded with the incorporation of the railway wiring, which allowed individual networks across Europe to connect to larger populations and networks. This initial networking and structure of wires, was the basis for future telephones and internet networking. The first (working) Trans-Atlantic Cable was laid in 1866, with an estimated speed of 8 words per minute, and originally valued at $100 per word. This specific type of coding system used Alphabetic keys to construct sentences for the decoder to receive their message.

Atlantic_cable_MapTrans-Atlantic Cable

With the first radio telegraph being sent in 1895, people’s perception of the world changed significantly. It stemmed thought of what was available for them to be able to access in terms of information & news. Suddenly the world was a metaphorical body with “a network or iron wires” (New York Tribune). Thus; interest grew with international relations and individuals realised that they could follow events in real time, such as the stock market, access weather reports and sporting scores. Extending on this, the need for a standardisation of time was important as suddenly people worked out it’s not mutual globally. The body became the world with a network make up, thus “by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence” [Nathaniel Hawthorne (1851)]. The Electric Telegraph, however, was succeeded by developing technology and running off the same principle people continued to improve this into the introduction of radio and beyond. A simply genius coding technology that was prolific in maritime and aerospace communication until the late 1990s.

Technological determinism is a term used to describe how technology influences human activity and affects, in positive or negative ways, our evolution. The Electric Telegraph has paved the way for communication resources we have available today including the telephone, radio, television transmission and modern computers. All which have coding practises which allows them to operate based on a set system that translates language and symbols into readable content. Marshall McLuhan was a theorist in technological determinism, and is famous for saying “the medium is the message.” Rightly, he concluded that “technology—such as the printing press, radio and TV—created new “spaces” for humans to inhabit and exist mentally and physically in; and as people adapted to these new spaces, they changed: they evolved. The printing press gave us the Gutenberg Bible, which gave us Protestantism, etc. Radio gave us popular music, Hitler & FDR. TV gave us JFK and couch potatoes” (BioCitizen.org, 2015)

The Electric telegraph has all but been overtaken by other forms of communication today; however this technology has played a significant role in the connectivity of the modern world with services such as Facebook, text messaging and email. It has allowed the world to move into an always linked society, with the use of coding for commands and representation of language through systemisation.

References:

CyberCollege Internet Campus 2013, Foundations of Radio, CyberCollege, viewed 19th August 2015, <http://www.cybercollege.com/frtv/frtv015.htm&gt;

Dan Gould 2011, In ‘The Transformation’ by James Gleik, The Author explores how a costly toy came to transform our world, PSFK, Viewed 19th August 2015, <http://www.psfk.com/2011/05/an-engine-of-information.html&gt;

Dada.edu, Electric Telegraph Timeline, Dada, Viewed 18th August 2015, <http://dada.cca.edu/~kkusumoto/defunct/content.pdf&gt;

Etienne Deleflie, 2015, Community and Communication, Lecture Slides, MEDA102, University of Wollongong, Online Slides (Moodle), viewed 18th August 2015, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/469784/mod_resource/content/1/Lecture_W2_MEDA102_2015.pdf&gt;

JEB Five 2013, History of Morse Code, online video, 26th September, YouTube, viewed 19th August 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNoOYeS0gs0&gt;

Kurt Heidinger 2011, Technological Determinism: What is it?, Biocitizen, viewed 19th August 2015, <http://biocitizen.org/technological-determinism-what-it-is-what-we-can-do-about-it&gt;

Ted Mitew, 2015, A global Nervous System: from the telegraph to cyberspace, Lecture Online Video, DIGC202, University of Wollongong, Prezi, viewed 15th August 2015, <https://prezi.com/d2zkh40f50bc/a-global-nervous-system/&gt;

From Electric Telegraphs to Live Feed

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Early electric telegraphs changed the speed in which people received information and messages. When the first commercial telegraph was sent in 1837, the world thought of various ways they could use this technology and people quickly learnt of what they’d be able to access in news, sport, weather and even time in other parts of the country.

1895 saw the first radio telegraph and the metaphor of a nervous system of wires whereby people were becoming connected causing a dramatic shift in world perception. Away from its original intention of individual messages, the electric telegraph saw rapid attention to distribute news items. Thus; became common to run special telegraph lines to major sporting events, so newspapers could receive up-to-the-minute reports.

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Today the expansion and use of sports coverage is evident in RSS Feeds

by allowing the user to easily stay informed and up to date on a variety of information they’re interested in, including sporting events. Examples of this include Fox Sports, ESPN, Wide World Of Sports and BBC Sports. As well as News, entertainment, weather and personal information, the early electric radio transmission set the way for sports coverage and updates that can be acquired pretty much to the viewers discretion.